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Editorial: Looks like a million bucks!

What would you do if you checked your bank balance and saw an extra million dollars? If you were 911 dispatcher Kelyn Spadoni, you would consider it a lucky opportunity. When a brokerage firm made a deposit error of $1.2 million, the 33-year-old Illinois resident jumped to transfer the funds to another account. According to, Spadoni bought a car and a house before she was arrested last week for theft over $25,000, bank fraud and illegal transmission of monetary funds.

We may shake our heads at her choice or even chuckle at the oddity of the error. In our position it might be easy to say, “Well, of course, I would return the money.” But what if the amount were $50, exactly what we needed to finish off a monthly bill? It’s the company’s mistake. Is it really our fault if they made the error?

Especially as college students who study full time and spend overtime paying for education, managing the bottom line on our bank accounts can start to feel like a game of limbo. It’s tempting to privately sweep things under the rug when it relieves the pressure and we get a little more room. What if the waiter forgot to charge for your drink? What if your friend forgot you owe him $5 for that coffee?

The small choices we make in unplanned situations determine the sensitivity of our conscience. If we make a habit of excusing inconsequential compromises, the divide between us and Spadoni’s decision gets a little less dramatic. People are geniuses when it comes to justifying questionable actions. If you ever doubt your creativity, pay attention to your thoughts when you test the boundaries of your conscience.

Christ made a habit of pricking the consciences of those He was around. The woman at the well-concealed the truth, and He saw right through her. When the adulterous woman was going to be stoned, He called out the crowd on their own sins. He broke Peter’s heart with a single look after Peter denied association with Christ. Christ’s purpose in conviction was always to bring others to His love in repentance and to draw attention to God the Father. Our conscience is a tool directed by the Spirit, but its upkeep is determined by our decisions to sharpen or dull its sensitivity. While 1 Timothy 4:2 refers to the “searing” of a liar’s conscience, Hebrews 10:22 speaks of Christians’ hearts as being “sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.”

As Christians, we should be renewing our hearts daily with the Word of God. When we seek to know Christ, our conscience is trained by truth, and we’re reminded of the sacrifice He made to give us the freedom we exercise. Soon, we realize the little decisions bear weight in Christ’s eyes—not just the million-dollar ones.